Chronometre a Resonance Retrospective Already 35 Years

The only wristwatch in the world that functions with the physical resonance phenomenon

Not everyone can become one of the best watchmakers of his time. One becomes the best, little by little, by emerging from a long legacy. And it is not merely by chance that, over the centuries, lineages, as bright as they are mysterious, are established among watchmakers driven by the same passion.

Antide Janvier built his first moving sphere in wood at the age of 15, a feat that two years later received recognition from the Science Academy of Besançon. Young François-Paul started making his first tourbillon watch at the age of 20 and when he was 22 years old he designed a first planetarium.

Amongst the numerous masterpieces made by Antide Janvier, complicated astronomic clocks, planetarium and other remarkable spheres with equations, we are here reminded of his mastery of the physical resonance phenomenon in a regulator, a natural phenomenon that only François-Paul Journe today perpetuates using this difficult and delicate technique with a modern conception, that of a mechanical wristwatch that was made to provide the greatest precision.

Antide Janvier’s double pendulum

Condensing a large double pendulum in the small space available in a wristwatch, was it possible? François-Paul Journe doubted, and nevertheless entered this modern race to reach an extreme degree of precision in time measurement.

For Journel, as for Janvier, it took several years to meet this impossible challenge. François-Paul Journe searches, calculates, ponders, gives up, and restarts calculating and designing until he truly enters into intellectual resonance with Antide Janvier, and there he starts to understand and can try to follow the same path, think the same way.

A watch is not a pendulum. François-Paul Journe calculates, checks, doubts again with a pocket-watch, which did not yet perform according to his expectations. He then abandons the project for a few years but he cannot stop thinking about Antide Janvier’s pendulum. Hands, brain, calculations, sketches and prototypes all resonate in François-Paul Journe’s mind as he works non-stop at his designer’s desk. This should function, and finally “this” does function. The first wrist-watch with “resonance” ® (protected trademark), was commercialized as a world premiere in the year 2000.

Prototype pocket watch (1983)

This emblematic timekeeper is a clear demonstration of François-Paul Journe’s research for precision in watchmaking. He devised, developed and built this movement to meet the demands of actual wear on the wrist and thereby provide chronometric performance driven to extremes, this watch represents one of the wildest challenges in the field of mechanical watches!

Each of the two balances alternately serves as exciter and resonator. When the two balances are in movement, they enter into harmony thanks to the resonance phenomenon and begin to beat naturally in opposition. The two balances then support each other, giving more inertia to their movement. This result is possible only if the difference of the frequency from one to the other does not exceed 5 seconds per day cumulated on six positions. Their setting is an extremely delicate task.

Whereas an external disturbing movement affects the running of a traditional mechanical watch, the same disturbance, for the Chronomètre à Resonance, produces an effect that accelerates one of the balances as much as it slows the other down. Little by little, the two balances come back towards each other to find their point of harmony, thus eliminating the disturbance.

Chronomètre à Résonance 18K red Gold and Black Label Edition

This mechanism revolutionizes established standards and offers an amount of precision that had never been equaled in a mechanical wristwatch.

In 2004, F.P.Journe finally makes another dream come true, manufacturing its haute horology movement in precious metal, 18K rose Gold. The Chronomètre à Résonance thus features for the first time an 18K rose Gold movement. A specificity that would from then on apply to all the precision chronometers of the brand.

In 2010, to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the emblematic Chronomètre à Resonance, acclaimed by collectors world-wide, as well as by his watchmaking peers, F.P.Journe, in an ultimate quest for precision, presented a new version indicating 24 hours with a dial at 9 o’clock, precisely showing the hours of day and night. The dial in Silver guilloche at 3 o’clock provides a second time zone indicating local time. The Chronomètre à Resonance was awarded the Grand Complication Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie of Geneva’s in 2010.

At the entrance of the F.P.Journe manufacture’s ateliers, a fascinating clock occupies the place of honour, the second of three double regulators constructed by Antide Janvier. The first is kept at the Paul Dupuis museum in Toulouse and the 3rd at the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva.


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